We live in the golden age of technology. Every aspect of our life has some amount of technology, quite possibly a screen. Over time, as we keep on living in our house, we set it up with a bunch of electronics that make our life convenient. Don’t believe us? Look around you. You’ll have at least four electronic devices that would bring your day crashing down if not present.
This has given us an extra set of challenges when we finally decide to build a new nest. Along with all your general baggage, important documents, and mom’s crockery, you need to be extremely careful when packing your electronics, too.
To give you a hand with that task, we have formulated a step-by-step guide to help you pack your electronic devices when moving houses. Keep reading to also know about a few hacks to make it easier.
While your video game consoles, screens, and CPUs are in a ‘tough’ casing, one drop or yank in the wrong way will destroy them. You need to make sure you have disassembled your electronics to whatever extent they can be disassembled and pack them with utmost care. Here is a 101 of what you need to do before the actual process of packing begins.
Yes, multiple. First, make a list of all the things you need to pack and categorize them into two parts – fragile and non-fragile. The list with fragile items will primarily include everything that has a screen. After your screens, your microwave can also be put on this list. In the non-fragile list, stuff like cables, remotes, controllers, and the like can be put. Essentially all that is at a lesser risk of breaking can be put on the non-fragile list.
In the second list, put in the packing materials that you’ll need to pack everything in the first list. Tape, cutters/scissors, markers, boxes, moving blankets, packing peanuts, newspaper, and the most underrated hero of all, silica gel packets are all the things you’ll need. Make sure you don’t skip out on any of these things. Here’s why.
This list starts with the item that you’ll probably need at the end of the packing process. That is because this is exactly how important tape is to this process. Of course, we know you won’t forget carrying tape, we just wanted to tell you to buy more than you think you’ll need.
Carry brand new cutters like an X-Acto knife or a hobby knife. Kitchen knives might damage the boxes, blankets, or bubble wrap that you’ll have to cut while wrapping. Using old, blunt cutting equipment will make the job a few times harder.
Use permanent markers and label EVERYTHING. Write exactly what you have kept on the box. If you don’t want the movers or the people helping you to know what is in which box, create a number-based system and mark the boxes accordingly. Just make sure to write down what number represents which box.
Another seemingly obvious addition to this list. However, you need to be wary of the sizes of the boxes you’ll need and the quality. Since we’re talking about moving very expensive items, make sure you don’t use cheap boxes. Use thick-walled, good-quality moving boxes to provide all your beloved electronics a little more protection, especially for your screens and CPU.
Use special moving blankets and not just your regular blankets. That’s because moving blankets will not just provide your electronics with fall protection, but they will also absorb some of the moisture and prevent it from getting into the electronics on a long journey.
Anti-Static Packing Peanuts And Bubble Wrap
Styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap are effective, inexpensive, and available at your local hardware stores. Some of the larger departmental stores like Walmart and Target also carry these items along with everything else on this list. Make sure you buy the anti-static variants of these items since static electricity can cause harm to the electronic divides that you intend on transporting safely.
Packing paper is your best friend. It’s very easily available and can be used as the first layer of packing. Wrap every item individually before placing it in a box, since this will also help in avoiding dust and any other contaminant to settle on your electronics.
Silica Gel Packets
This is your chance to bring out your massive collection of silica gel packets that you have been collecting since you first opened a box. Silica gel is amazing at absorbing moisture. Placing a couple of those small packets in every box will be enough for the longest cross-country hauls as well. Of course, wash your hands after handling them since silica is toxic. (And please don’t eat it because it looks just like sugar)!
Ratchet Straps (For DIY Moves)
Ratchet straps will help you secure all of your boxes to the walls and floor of your vehicle, provided that the walls and floor have appropriate anchor points. They are arguably the best solution to make sure your stuff doesn’t move around in the back as you drive.
Moving Mats (For DIY Moves)
Moving mats are also a product used for moving, specifically. These mats are generally made out of rubber and are thick. You place them on the floor of your vehicle so that the boxes you place on top grip the surface and do not move around.
Before packing, remove all the wires, cables, and other paraphernalia surrounding your electronics. Use rubber/elastic bands to hold the wires and cables. Use sticky notes to label all the wires so that assembly becomes easier upon unpacking. Other things like toner/ink cartridges and batteries should be taken out when moving. The long, bumpy journey might damage those or even break them, effectively destroying the device itself.
Do not forget to take out all storage devices like CDs, VHS tapes, external hard drives, and all other peripheral devices that can be removed. Make sure you go through the user manuals provided with the device. They might have some instructions that you would need to follow when disassembling and storing.
For the most important part of the process, the one thing you need to remember at all times is to not rush it. Make sure you begin packing your electronics at least three days before D-day and pack all things properly. We suggest you pack your router last since that would be useful right until it is turned off.
After the disassembly comes wrapping. Go through your list of devices one item at a time. Using packing paper, wrap the device and its cables, wires, supporting devices at once. For example, if you’re wrapping a desktop computer, make sure you remove and label all the wires and batteries if your keyboard or mouse uses them and bundle them up with zip-ties. After that, wrap your CPU, monitor, keyboard, speakers, and mouse individually but one after the other.
The next step is to place all of your wrapped devices in boxes. In a utopia, you’d still have the boxes that all the electronics came in. In which case, you might not need to use all the packing peanuts and moving blankets.
However, if that is not the case, make sure you use appropriately sized boxes for all items. Before placing any device, make sure to layer the bottom of the box with bubble wrap or moving blankets. Then wrap the device itself with the same and place it in the box. Make sure to put the heavier things in first.
If the item that you are packing has a screen, put in some extra protection around the screen itself. The best way to do that would be to cut a piece of cardboard in the shape of the screen and stick it directly on top of the initial layer of packing paper. Then follow the rest of the steps in the same order.
Next, fill all the empty space in the box with packing peanuts, more bubble wrap, or even packing paper. Creating a layer of impact-absorbing material around your electronics, along with the initial layer of packing paper, will ensure maximum safety. So use a box that is a few inches bigger than the item itself, giving you the space to create this line of defence.
As you close the box, make sure you tape it sealed shut. Do this from all sides, including the bottom, to give the box some extra strength. Try putting the remote controllers and cables of every device in the same box as the device. However, when it comes to cartridges and batteries, we suggest you pack them separately and seal that container very well. These items might be damaged even outside the devices and leak fluids that are mostly toxic.
Moving Your Electronics
This is the D-day. However hard you try, no matter how organized you are, you’ll be stressed. Between making sure everything is properly packed, nothing is left behind, the gas and electricity mains are turned off, and locking your old place up, it’s only fair to anticipate that stress. The only reason we suggest you start packing three days prior is this. Having everything ready before time gives you the chance to go through it with a fine comb and be sure of the situation.
If you’re moving all your stuff by yourself, we recommend you arrange an enclosed trailer. That way, you’ll have to worry about the elements getting to your electronics a lot less. When loading the trailer, a lot of the websites would tell you to pack the heaviest item last. However, that would mean your trailer will have the majority of the weight at the other end, making the drive a little unsafe. Load the heaviest items first and then the lighter ones.
Make sure that you load your vehicle in a manner where there is not a lot of space for your electronics to move around. As much as possible, tie all the boxes to the walls or the floor of the vehicle with bungee cords or ratchet straps. As an addition, you can also purchase and place moving mats on the vehicle’s floor, helping you avoid the boxes from sliding all over the place.
If you’re using a packing and moving service, make sure to mark the boxes with what rooms they are supposed to be dropped in. This will make it easier for the crew to unload. However, avoid writing the exact contents of the boxes for safety reasons. Other than that, the movers will take care of the logistics.
Regardless of whether you’re using a service or moving all your stuff yourself, you need to make sure that your electronics are being transported in ideal climatic conditions. Remember that electronics are very sensitive to the weather and might get easily damaged if not packed or moved properly.
Three main climatic factors that can damage your devices are heat, cold, and humidity.
Too Much Heat: This will cause the metal inside your electronics to expand and potentially fracture.
Too Much Cold: This presents two problems. The first is the fact that cold will cause the metallic parts to contract, in turn damaging them. The second one is that cold invites condensation. If there is too much condensation accumulating inside the device, that will also harm it and render it useless.
Humidity: Humidity is the sworn enemy of electronics. Any amount of humidity, if trapped in the correct place, will render your devices useless.
As you get all of your electronic devices delivered to their respective places in your new house, you’ll have to start putting them back together. However, it’s easier said than done. One of the most important things to remember when unpacking and assembling electronic devices after a move is to be patient. With the amount of packing we’ve done, there’s a high chance that recklessness during unpacking will damage your goods.
If that isn’t enough, it might so happen that in the hurry of getting everything out of its packing, you might throw a few cables or screws away with the packing material. So take a deep breath and go through this process, one device at a time.
Don’t start ripping all the boxes apart and getting your stuff all over the place. Doing that will instantly make a mess of your new house and make tracking all the peripherals exponentially harder as well. Choose one device and only open the boxes you’d need to assemble that device. After the entire process, including all the steps listed here, is done, move on to the boxes for the next device.
As you go through each device, take your time in putting them together. Refer to the user guide that you received with the device. If you do not have one available, the internet surely will. Search for one online and refer to that guide.
After assembling a device, make sure you test your electronics to see if it runs the way it should. This way you can instantly recognize a problem, whether it be in the moving, the assembly, or in the device itself, and troubleshoot it. Going through one device at a time will also help you accelerate this step since you’ll be very sure of what batteries, remotes, and cables you’re using to run the said device.
Disposing of is arguably the most important process involved in packing and moving your electronics. A majority of the things that you use in packing are not environment-friendly, unfortunately. You need to be extremely careful when disposing of all the tape, the bubble wrap, and boxes after you are done.
A lot of this packing equipment can also be a choking hazard if not handled properly. The bottom line is, if not used and disposed of properly, the packing and moving material can be a huge threat to the environment and health. Make sure you segregate this and dispose of it appropriately.
Tips To Pack Electronics For Moving
Don’t Use Newspapers
While this is not much of a hack, it is rather useful. Newspapers can carry static electricity and they also risk leaving ink marks on your devices. So refrain from using them to pack your electronics at all costs.
Take Photos Before Disassembly
A picture speaks a thousand words. Most of which might be you cursing yourself for not taking note of how things go back together. Photos will give you the exact idea of which cable connects to which port.
Mark The Boxes As ‘Fragile’
This is just to let the movers know that the box they are carrying contains items that will get damaged easily. After all, maximum protection to your devices will be provided by the people carrying them.
Unplug Electronics 24 Hours Before Packing
Electronic devices need to be cool enough before being transported. If the devices are packed when heated, they can be damaged since the packing will act as an insulator. Unplugging the device a day before packing will also ensure that it does not hold a static charge.
Buy Extension Cords
After moving into the new place with your electronics, the most convenient and safest way to plug stuff in is through a surge-protected power strip. These power strips will not only make it convenient, but they will also make sure that any fluctuation in electricity does not damage your electronics.
Tie The Cables With Zip Ties
After all the assembly, testing, and final set-up, bundle all your cables and wires together with zip-ties so that they don’t tangle up by themselves.
Moving, in itself, is a behemoth of a task. You need to make sure of a thousand aspects and then the logistics of them all. Put super-expensive electronics in the mix and you’ll find yourself stressing every step of the way. By making sure you break this process down into a few parts as we did, you can maintain pace and ease of work as you go through every device. In that case, do your research and make alterations to the steps we have given to suit your needs the best.
Pack the box as tight as you can with bubble wrap, foam inserts, or tightly-wadded kraft paper. (Don’t use polystyrene packing peanuts or other types of loose-fill packaging, they create static electricity and won’t keep your device from sliding around.) Seal the box with packing tape.
Can Bubble Wrap Damage Electronics?
Anti-static bubble wrap is safe for electronics. Since electronics are fragile, it only makes sense to use a lot of bubble wrap. In other words, bubble wrap for electronics is designed to prevent shipping damage.
How Do You Pack Gadgets?
Stuff them in a zippered pencil pouch, a small Dopp kit, or as a last resort, a resealable plastic bag. If you plan to place your devices inside larger bags, you should provide padding. This not only guards your gadgets against knocks and bumps but also prevents gadgets from shifting around within a larger suitcase.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.